One of the more recent Trav wannabes is Charley Memminger’s Stryker McBride. He’s a retired crime reporter who was shot by a crooked cop and earned himself a big legal settlement—with which he bought a $300k houseboat called the Travis McGee. (Memminger is nothing if not a McGee name-dropper. Trav is liberally mentioned in his promo material. He also occasionally lards his text with one of JDM’s color book titles; I caught a couple.)
And while Stryker may not be at the highest level of McGee wannabes—very few are—he’s an entertaining sleuth in a very attractive tropical setting. That would be Oahu and Memminger—a resident—knows all things Hawaiian, especially the history of organized crime. Thus, lots of backstory and info dump. But Memminger, an old newspaper hand, is a good storyteller, and all that history and culture doesn’t intrude too much on the tale. For this first book in the series it may even be necessary.
The plot revolves around Chinese/Hawaiian gangsters and nefarious activities that happened way back in the days after 12-7-41. A woman whom Stryker had the hots for in high school asks him to investigate the apparent drowning death of her grandfather in an improbable taro paddy in a very ritzy neighborhood. Only the death isn’t what it seemed. When a Hong Kong thug creams Stryker, he’s all in.
The plot is too Byzantine to try to reprise briefly, but it makes for an entertaining yarn—complete with crime lords, secret societies, biological weapons, marina life, sexy MEs, and intoxicating island atmosphere. I would enjoy reading more and hope that Memminger’s series outlives the initial two-book contract.
But I perhaps get ahead of myself. Almost two years after the first book appeared, there is still no sign of the second.